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Big Four Seen As Factor in Favoring Rogers’ Wording of Letter Jarring Gave Thant

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Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring’s failure to include Israel’s condition for withdrawal from occupied territories in his letter to Secretary General U Thant appeared to hinge on a decision reported taken by the Big Four at their meeting last Wednesday, sources here said today. According to this view, the Big Four felt that inclusion of any conditions for a peace settlement in the Middle East would rock the delicate international diplomatic boat and stymie negotiations. That is why, one source noted, the Big Four met for an inordinate length of time – almost three-and-a-half hours – and why, according to reports. France’s Ambassador Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet left the Big Four meeting to call his embassy “for instructions from his government.” On Friday, Mr. Thant released his statement that he had been informed “by the government of the United States that the peace proposal initiated by the government has been accepted by the governments of Israel. Jordan and the United Arab Republic.” He added: “Subsequently Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring…has been given confirmation of these acceptances by the permanent representatives to the United Nations of those three governments. The “acceptance” by the three Middle East governments and the subsequent “confirmation” was the basis for the resumption of the peace mission.

Dr. Jarring’s letter to Mr. Thant included Mr. Rogers original wording that one of the conditions for establishing “a just and lasting peace” was to be based on “Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict.” Dr. Jarring’s letter even included the original cease-fire dates – June 1 to October 1 – which was officially amended in a footnote to conform to the new cease-fire dates from August 7 to November 5. Spokesmen for the UN said today there was no official comment either by Dr. Jarring or Mr. Thant on the Israeli Foreign Ministry statement on Friday reiterating Israel’s official reply to the U.S. peace initiative which was forwarded to Washington and to the UN asserting that withdrawal “to secure, recognized and agreed boundaries (was) to be determined in peace agreements.” One UN spokesman said “I refuse to be drawn into” a discussion as to why Dr. Jarring’s letter did not take into consideration this condition or whether the parties in the conflict actually signed the stat- ment Dr. Jarring gave Mr. Thant. Meanwhile, UN spokesmen said Mr. Thant “understood that the representatives of the United Arab Republic, Israel and Jordan were now contacting their governments on site, time and representation.” The spokesmen also said that Dr. Jarring was continuing his consultations and awaiting the “modalities” of the next steps in the negotiations.

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